The ICIS Polyols reports are published weekly in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US. This independent and unbiased pricing information covers a variety of grades including slabstock, high resilience, conventional and foam depending on the region.
Our locally-based network of reporters provide details of the factors affecting price movements. Commentary includes overviews, economic news, graphs, feedstock updates, demand and supply issues. This market intelligence will give you the confidence to make informed business decisions.
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Polyols news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Polyols analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polyols marketplace.
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Polyols: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2018
Supply will likely increase along with the expected restart of a major southeast Asia-based producer’s plant in late-April, after it was taken off line for maintenance. China-origin cargoes could also likely become more readily available in the import market following the decline in China domestic polyols prices in March.
While Q2 is traditionally the polyols demand lull season in China, downstream foam makers may start to ramp up their plant production or may be more eager to replenish stock after the retreat in prices of feedstock toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) from the peak reached in recent months. As a result of these counter-balancing factors, demand may stay largely flat for the quarter.
Updated to Q3 2018
Europe polyols supply should increase following the end of Spanish seller Repsol’s turnaround at its 150,000 tonne/year Tarragona plant. The scheduled maintenance began in January and finished in late March. Therefore, heading into April participants said the market was balanced.
German seller BASF’s 300,000 tonne/year toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) Ludwigshafen plant is scheduled to come online in the second quarter, which could boost Europe polyols demand. Both products combine to make flex foam and consequently have related market dynamics. Polyols consumption was limited in quarter one by TDI tightness. However, it is unlikely that polyols demand will heighten in quarter two as TDI participants expect availability levels in their market to increase only in quarter three.
Updated to Q2 2018
Polyols supply to the Middle East region is expected to improve in Q2 as PO supply appeared to have been increasing. However, PO prices remain volatile and polyols sellers have been cautious about resuming offers to Middle East buyers amid the lack of clarity.
Polyols demand in the Middle East could increase in the early weeks of Q2 as buyers continued to attempt re-building depleted inventories while prices remain stable. Many buyers, however, were still being priced out of the market and activity could slow even more with the onset of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which is typically a slow period for the PU market in the region.
Updated to Q2 2018
Polyol supply is expected to remain sufficient through the second quarter with ongoing shortness in the isocyanate markets limiting polyol consumption. Polyols are combined with isocyanates to create polyurethane foams.
Demand for polyurethane systems is expected to pick up heading into the second quarter as the construction sector will be entering its traditional high season. Demand from other consumption sectors is likely to be steady to firmer.
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Polyols are one of the components used to make polyurethanes, the other being an isocyanate. There are two main types of polyols: polyether polyols and polyester polyols.
Polyether polyols are the most widely used with the main applications being rigid and flexible polyurethane foams. Rigid foams are used mainly in insulation, refrigeration, packaging and construction while flexible foams have applications such as upholstery, mattresses and seats. Polyols can also be used in elastomers, adhesives, coatings and fibres.
Polyester polyols compete with polyether polyols but may be preferred in some rigid foam applications because of their low cost and improved flame retardant properties. They can also provide improved wear resistance, heat aging and chemical resistance in elastomers, coatings, sealants and adhesives.